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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 6, 2008 5:38 AM. The previous post in this blog was Change you can get wet in. The next post in this blog is The Sam and Randy Show, Episode 267. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

One-shot deal?

My friend Steve Stark, who kept tabs on the Presidential campaign from start to finish, has some interesting reflections on what the election means for future contests:

Yes, Obama carried Virginia for the Democrats for the first time since 1964, and Colorado for only the third time since 1952, as well as North Carolina and Indiana. The Southwest also leaned more toward the left than it has in the recent past, turning those states into toss-ups in future elections.

Obama's victory in some formerly red states is the culmination of long-standing demographic shifts that have seen more liberal voters move into traditionally conservative territory, such as northern Virginia and parts of North Carolina. So the Democrats seemingly have begun to secure footholds in these regions.

The problem for the Dems is that the 2010 census and the re-drawing of the political map that follows are likely to nullify some of these gains. It's estimated that Texas is likely to pick up three electoral votes in the next census; Florida could increase its total by two, and Arizona, Georgia, California, Nevada, and Utah may each gain one. The loser states are likely to be New York and Ohio, dropping two each, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Pennsylvania each losing one.

That translates into roughly a 10-vote gain for the Republicans. That might not seem like much, but in a close election it could tip the balance.

The full column is here.

Comments (12)

And don't forget the impending End Days migration to Alaska. Only a rapturous God knows, how many Hellectorate votes Palin will be able to deliver in 2012.

Three states from that list,Florida, Nevada, and California all voted with the democrats. How would their gaining electoral votes translate as gains for republicans?

In addition to Florida, Nevada and California, Arizona has been trending Democratic for the past few years. Obama probably would have won there had McCain been from somewhere else.

Nice catch and a good point. I woke up thinking about something similar -- that what a President Obama and an invigorated Democratic Congress should do is pass a law requiring the Census Bureau to count all incarcerated persons to their last address prior to their imprisonment. (Same with anyone in the military who hasn't changed his or her voting registration to the state where they reside --- they should be counted for census and apportionment purposes as living in the state where they entered the service and where they are registered to vote.)

This way the communities that were victimized by their crimes don't suffer another loss as all the prisons built in the recent prison building boom in deep red rural areas lead to a vicious cycle of "tuff on crime" measures that have the primary effect of targeting urban areas, which then suffer population and representation losses to the same rural areas, and so on.

Texas is likely to pick up three electoral votes in the next census; Florida could increase its total by two, and Arizona, Georgia, California, Nevada, and Utah may each gain one. The loser states are likely to be New York and Ohio, dropping two each, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Pennsylvania each losing one.... That translates into roughly a 10-vote gain for the Republicans.

If Obama wins the same states in 2012 that he won in 2008 (assuming MO and NC are certified as they currently stand), the shift described above would reduce his electoral vote total by 4. That would make the 2012 EV result 360-169.

Next time, he may be running against a real candidate.

Also, Texas is moving Democratic as well. The Dems almost picked up almost enough seats to regain the majority in the State Lege. If they have the majority in the next legislative session, they will be in control of the redistricting process. Redistricting in Texas is EVERYTHING. Tom Delay led the state lege to drastically cut back on Democratic seats in 2003, and payback is likely to be a bitch. Once you see more Dems in Congressional and state seats, you'll see the political personality of the state swing even harder to the left with good leadership.

Next time, he may be running against a real candidate.

Then again, he may not.

But my point, really, is that the electoral map isn't permanently configured for Republican victory and the shifts that might occur as a result of the 2010 census aren't likely to change matters much. I agree with Gil that Arizona is ripe for the taking. And if Obama does a decent job, a lot of middle/lower-income whites in states such as Missouri, Georgia and West Virginia -- and maybe even Texas -- having grown accustomed to a black man being president, might actually vote their wallets.

Actually, the electoral map is set up for GOP victory, Democratic victories on the national scale represent a much more difficult triumph than GOP ones do.

There is a palpable thumb on the scale in the GOP direction, thanks to the absurd electoral college, which gives a definite boost to them through the assignment of an elector for each senator and a minimum of one house member per state. Thus, states like Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Idaho, and, until recently, RI, NH, and Delaware all have electoral power that significantly overvalues their voters, while reducing the power of a voter in California, Illinois, New York, etc.

The way election maps are drawn doesn't really do justice to the actual results. You can't tell with just two tones (i.e. red or blue) whether the vote in a given county went 70/30, or 51/49.

In our own backyard, the Oregonian this morning noted that Deschutes, Hood River, and Wasco counties went Democratic - that's a big change for Oregon. What it doesn't show is how much erosion there was elsewhere in the traditional Republican strongholds of Oregon - you have to see the numbers.

If the county-by-county national map were drawn with shades of red and blue, rather than only two tones, you would see this, and probaly see as well, for example (I don't know for sure because I don't have the data) that Montana is trending Democratic and may be the next Nevada, Colorado, or New Mexico in 2012.

the problem for the Dems is that the 2010 census and the re-drawing of the political map that follows are likely to nullify some of these gains.

someday, perhaps not in my lifetime, the two-party system's going to collapse. not gently, but with boom.

in other words, it's not a matter of if we go towards a more parliamentary system--it's a matter of when. it won't be like existing ones--it'll be some hybrid involving regional (not state) governing bodies. this current binary choice that polarizes almost half a billion people and requires bondage with transnational corporations is more absurd than fascism.


and now, we get to watch the craven hyena-fest of Republicans attempting to utterly destroy the opposing party in power--so they can take power--all over again.

yet, i'm very glad Obama won. it means hope struck a solid blow upside the head of fear and hate.

for now.


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